Parabens are esters of p-hydroxybenzoic acid which are often added to cosmetics and other personal care products including shampoos, moisturizers, etc. Parabens are considered good preservatives for their broad antimicrobial spectrum but also for their relatively low toxicity, low volatility and high stability.

Recent studies suggest parabens may be carcinogenic and can cause estrogenic disrupting activity, thereby disputing the notion of low toxicity for these compounds. We present an LC/MS assay to identify several of the parabens found in hand lotion.

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